By the time Euro 96 reached half time, Vauxhall – one of the 11 official sponsors – was already claiming a 3-0 lead.
The reason for the car maker’s euphoria was a string of penalty decisions at Wembley – one for Switzerland, Gary McAllister’s unsuccessful effort against England and then Alan Shearer’s conversion against the Dutch – all into the same goal.
It wasn’t that Vauxhall marketing director Wolfgang Schubert was carried away with the excitement of the occasion – just the position of the hoarding for the Vectra model behind the penalty goalposts. It could be seen by millions on TV, and even more the following day as pictures were emblazoned all over the newspapers.
At the US World Cup in 1994, Mastercard International executive vice-president of global marketing Joe Tripodi fell to his knees to pray that the penalty shoot-out would be at the Mastercard end (MW diary June 14). It’s not known if Schubert is a religious man, but he might have a quiet word with his maker before this weekend’s final.